Outsource or Co-source: what’s right for your school?

Outsource or Co-source: what’s right for your school?

The new CSE managed service offering is available in two forms: Intelligent Outsource and Intelligent Co-source. In this blog post we discuss their differences, and offer advice on which might be most suitable for your school.


You will no doubt be familiar with the concept of outsourcing. In IT support terms this usually means handing over full responsibility to a third-party provider. Close co-operation and a detailed SLA (service level agreement) are vital when outsourcing, but there is a clear line of responsibility with the vendor.

Often the IT company’s technicians work full-time in the school, providing the on-site support needed whilst removing the hassle of recruiting, training and managing them. In the case of Intelligent Outsource from CSE, much of the support traditionally provided by on-site staff can be undertaken remotely. This can reduce the number of staff required on site, and for small schools, perhaps remove the requirement entirely.


This is a less well-known term but is becoming more commonplace. The main difference with co-sourcing IT support services is that the emphasis is on partnership, with the IT supplier working alongside the school’s own support staff. It may involve the IT supplier’s staff working on-site as well, or purely providing a remote presence, expanding the school’s expertise and resources when required.

One of the main drivers behind this model is the need for schools to have multiple specialisms (networking, cloud computing, security, safeguarding etc.) – something that, without the partnership of the IT supplier, would not be feasible.

In reality there is no clear distinction between these two approaches. Whether you think you need Intelligent Outsource or Intelligent Co-source, all support agreements start with a discussion of the school’s needs – a solution is then built to meet the requirements and budget. The likelihood is that your school’s ideal support package will be a bespoke mixture of outsourcing and co-sourcing. Whatever your support solution ends up looking like, you can be sure that this approach will provide a more tailored and efficient solution than an off-the-shelf package.


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